The growing flexibility of work and the mobility of communication is driving many companies to deploy increasingly advanced concepts in the development of their workspace strategy. The future may indeed be a world where every company, from GM to Google, has a flexible, on-demand, collaborative campus nearby, where you can plugin your computer, grab lunch, or even go for a swim.
With a projected 50 billion connected devices in the world, by 2020, according to a recent study, by Ericsson, more and more employees are ditching the cubicle, for the comforts of their home office. The spread of the world’s remote workforce has not only proven a preferable option for many workers, but has also shown improved results for companies as well.
American Express’ BlueWork program, which was developed to create more flexible workspace options for the companies 63,000 employees, not only led to increased output, but also saved the company as much as $15 million, annually. The BlueWork program was adopted to better serve the companies growing workforce and lure in top talents. Through the program, American Express created four distinct groups of work spaces, giving employees the flexibility to work in an environment that best suited them, and contrary to some initial concerns about the program’s risks of leading to a disjointed workforce, in reality the program increased both innovation and collaboration throughout the company.
Areas of work space identified by American Express’ BlueWork program:
- Hub: Hub-based jobs encompass more traditional work requiring employees to carry out face-to-face work in one of the companies campus locations.
- Club: Club employees are given office space at a campus location on as-needed basis, either because they only work part-time or because they work from multiple locations, such as a home office or another campus.
- Roam: Roaming employees have jobs that don’t require a stationary office, but instead involving a lot of moving around
- Home: Employees who work from home are given an allowance for working from home, in line with the reduced costs of real estate for the company.
Another company, Aetna Insurance, has placed such an emphasis on workplace flexibility, that 47% of Aetna’s workforce is now working remotely. The company has eliminated the need for more than 2.7 million square feet of office space, saving the company more than $78 million. By pioneering the concept of a flexible and remote workforce, companies like Aetna and American Express are gaining and edge over competitors, both through their bottom-lines and employee morale.
Bringing the idea of the sharing economy to work space solutions has been proving to be a lucrative endeavor, as a growing number of startups offer lower cost, on-demand and scalable work spaces.
LiquidSpace is a marketplace for hourly or daily office space and meeting rooms around the world.
WorkSpace on Demand is a flexible work space solution offered by Marriott with a growing number of locations throughout the US.
WeWork specializes in providing co-work or collaborative work spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Neuehouse provides a more boutique solution providing membership-based access to modernist office space, specifically targeting independent innovators and entrepreneurs.